Thinking about taking a trip to the Nürburgring? Then check out our best tips and tricks to ensure you and your car have a safe visit...
1. HAVE A BACKUP PLAN
Accidents do happen so make sure you have a plan to get home if your car goes wrong or you end up stuffing it. Many European recovery policies exclude the Nürburgring so double-check before you make the call and tell them your dead car is sitting outside in the car park.
2. TURN THE CAMERA OFF
In-car video and still photography is banned (we believe this rule was brought in after someone filmed a fatal accident and posted it on the web) so don’t bother. Stewards and patrols are always on the lookout for people flouting the rules and, if caught, the best you can hope for is a couple of hours in the sin-bin; they could ban you from the track for the whole day! That said, cameras are fine for spectators so, if you’re just watching, snap away!
3. OVERTAKE ON THE LEFT
Wait for slower cars to see you and move over to the right before you pass – just as you would when overtaking on the German public roads. If you’re spotted or reported for overtaking on the right you’ll get a slap on the wrists and plenty of time in the sin-bin to mull it over.
4. ALWAYS SLOW DOWN FOR YELLOW FLAGS
You’ll see a lot of yellow flags and these can range from someone having a minor off to a big accident, so make sure you slow down. Marshalls will report you if they don’t think you’ve slowed down enough and you’ll be banned or sin-binned.
5. CLEAR YOUR CAR OUT
Unless you happen to be a nuclear-grade nutjob you’ll be throwing your car around a lot more on the track than on the roads getting there. With that in mind, clear out all the old shite from your boot and around the cockpit. The last thing you need is a half eaten cheese and onion pastie hitting you in the back of the head or that long forgotten bottle of water under the seat going into the footwell as you tackle the Karussell.
6. MOVE OVER (TO THE RIGHT)
It may feel odd being overtaken by a smaller, lower-powered car but, never forget, experience is what counts at the ’Ring. A less powerful car following the correct lines will leave us mere mortals in a faster machine for dead. The best advice is to watch your mirrors very carefully and be especially wary of bikes, which seem to approach from nowhere, damn crotch rockets!
7. BE AWARE OF YOUR MECHANICALS
Many of the fatal ’Ring accidents are a result of bikers going down on oil/antifreeze. If you leak fluids onto the circuit, you could be liable for any resulting damage, injury or even death. So if your car develops a leak, stop on the grass, get over the barrier, warn other traffic and call for recovery. The recovery charge will be considerably cheaper than the cost of the accident you could cause.
8. DRIVE SMOOTHLY LIKE A PRO
Aggressive driving upsets the balance of the car – the last thing you want mid-corner. Get your braking done in a straight line, move down a gear and keep the power steady and steering smooth through the corner until you hit the apex. Then gradually increase power. A top piece of advice from Lewis Hamilton, that!
9. EASY DOES IT!
It takes many hours to learn every corner, in fact it can take 50-100 laps just to gain basic knowledge, so take it very steady to begin with. When you think you’ve got is sussed just remind yourself that you probably haven’t – so don’t let your testicles grow bigger than your brain because all that confidence can come right back to bite you in the arse. Bear in mind that timing your laps on public sessions is illegal, apparently it encourages you to push too hard.
10. CRASH PROCEDURE
So, the worst has happened and you’ve binned it… Fortunately you and your passenger are okay, so your next potential risk is other cars hitting you, at high speed, right up the jacksie. Before having a quiet sob to yourself, get over the barrier and move up the track to slow down the traffic. Call for assistance/recovery on +49 2691 302215.